Water Sampling and My Last Week at the Blanca Wetlands

Hello there again to the public and anyone else that may follow Environment for the Americas (EFTA). It’s your EFTA intern Ricky Martinez serving the people and the environment here in the San Luis Valley, or Alamosa Colorado to be specific. I am working on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Lands the gorgeous Blanca Wetlands to be specific. This week has been a lot of fun and also a lot of reminiscing. The fun comes from the water sampling here at the blanca wetlands to complete our selenium project. The reminiscing comes from all the great times I’ve had during my internship here at the Blanca Wetlands and its coming to an end.

I was talking about a project where the BLM is collecting water samples from the wells, fresh water ponds, are salty playas, some soil and dust samples and testing for selenium. The Blanca Wetlands being home to such a vast amount of bird species and many more animals, we want to make sure selenium is not at a harmful concentration, especially because it has been found to interfere with bird reproduction, specifically the softening of their egg shells. The Blanca Wetlands is amazing for the breeding season for many waterfowl and shorebirds, so this being a breeding ground is key to protecting from harmful people such as poachers and of course pollution.

We are doing two sets of sampling. We just completed our May sampling period back in May we collected 60 salty playa samples, 4 fresh water pond samples, 2 BOR Canal samples (a canal that feeds into the wetlands), 24 well samples, 24 soil samples and 8 dust collection samples. We also did another sampling here in July and early August. The goal is to sample during the bird breeding migration and wintering migration.

We received our May results and some areas have concentrations of selenium that we want to focus on. For the most part our wetlands are pretty healthy in terms of selenium. This is great news! This week is my last week that I will spend time in the wetlands. I am so thankful for this opportunity I learned so much. I gained so many certifications and I am overall just so blessed to get to be apart of the experience. I have a love for the Blanca Wetlands and the birds and all the species that live within it. This Blanca Wetlands is a little hidden treasure in the southwest part of Colorado. Im so glad I have so many pictures to hold all the memories in place. This will be one of my last blogs that talks about the wetlands. My next one is just going to be about wrapping up so stay tuned and thank you for all that enjoyed the blogs.

A water well that feeds into a canal which then leads to a wetland playa. I loved the color of it the water is so clear and the green vegetation just gorgeous. I collected water from this well for our selenium project.

Me holding water samples I just collected from a fresh water pond for our selenium project.

Ricky Martinez
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Im Ricky Martinez Metropolitan State University of Denver Alumni (BS Biology). Also I am a SCA Massachusetts AmeriCorps Alumni (2016-2017). I currently am interning with the San Luis Valley Bureau of Land Management. I consider myself an ornithologist and I love birds.

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